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Half-Century Later, Dick Dale's Surf Music Makes Waves in St. Petersburg

Surf's up! At age 74, rocker Dick Dale displayed vigor and excitement for the 1960s surf music he made famous.

ST. PETERSBURG - Dick Dale is living proof of the timless quality of great music-making. The 74-year-old surf music legend drew punks, hippies, surfers and just ordinary fans to the State Theater Saturday night for a memorable show of music made famous nearly a half-century ago.

He performed all his surf guitar classics to a packed, soldout house that came from far and wide -- from Jacksonville to St. Augustine.

As Dale strummed the first chord on his prized Fender Stratocaster he proclaimed to the audience, "I'm here tonight to make your ears bleed!" Dale ripped through one quintessential surf track after another for a crowd spanning many generations, demonstrating how enduring his music has been through the years.

Opening support came from a legendary surf guitar player in his own right, Laramie Dean, who took it upon himself to book the tour without the aid of an agent. His set was composed of originals mixed with some new school interpretations of surf music's mainstays. To solidify his street credit, Dean has recorded with Joe King of the punk band, The Queers, as well as toured with surf-punks Agent Orange.

The crowd's reaction to Dale's performance Saturday was a perfect example of how music can transcend all barriers. People of every age, race and gender danced and came together at the State.

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